Utah District Court
Court Excuses Attorney's Failure to Read Order Linked to NEF
Recognizing that "some attorneys have been having problems understanding the new electronic case filing system," District Judge Dale A. Kimball re-scheduled a case after counsel failed to comply with an order which he did not read. Counsel admitted he received a Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) that his motion for an extension of time was granted, but he believed that his motion was granted without restriction and that an order would come later in postal mail. He also said he tried "to obtain a copy of the order from the email notification" but was "unable to do so." (Docket no. 98)
Whatever the reason, counsel did not read the order which granted his motion to extend time, and therefore failed to comply with conditions set in the order. Judge Kimball recognized that counsel "could have been genuinely confused about whether an Order was attached to the e-mail notification of electronic filing. This court will give him the benefit of the doubt once." Judge Kimball re-scheduled the case (2:04-cv-01065) in his order, docket no. 125.
If readers are aware of any other decisions addressing CM/ECF issues in the district, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Federal Lawyer Columnist Extols NitroPDF
Michael J. Tonsing, technology columnist for the Federal Lawyer magazine
produced by the Federal Bar Association
devoted his May column to NitroPDF. Tonsing says the product, which he bought for less than $70, "is a new, very affordable, fully featured PDF creation and editing product." Like Adobe Acrobat Standard (which lists for $299 per seat) NitroPDF includes a PDF creator, and allows annotating and commenting. Features Tonsing praises include image editing, keyword hyperlink indexing and table of contents page linking. He says the product also includes Bates stamping
A contrarian view
of alternative PDF software is offered by Adobe's Rick Borstein. NitroPDF reviews
are posted on the ArtsPDF website
Attorneys Who Are Not E-Filers Get Special Letter
Today, several hundred letters were sent to attorneys who are active on cases in the District, but are not registered e-filers. This is the first effort directed personally at counsel who are not registered to e-file. Each letter lists all cases in which the attorney is active counsel. The letter continues:The overwhelming majority of the court’s bar have complied with the requirement that active counsel register as electronic filers. All counsel on a case are required to be e-filers, even if only one lead attorney files papers. The deadlines for mandatory e-filing (November 1, 2005, for criminal cases and May 1, 2006, for civil cases) are long past. Generous advance notice was provided, and the court provides several avenues for training at no cost, some including CLE credit. The few counsel who are not e-filers impose a burden of paper service on the court and on counsel who comply with the court mandatory e-filing policy.
The letter points out the four
ways of filling the prerequisites necessary to e-file (court training
, in-firm training
, web site training
and registration in another court, including bankruptcy court) and encloses a registration form. Recipients are invited to register.
By far most attorneys who are not efilers have one or two cases pending in the court. But there are a few with 5 or 10 or 20 cases. The court will continue to press for compliance with efiling by all counsel.
666 = Y2K
The reported CM/ECF downtime on 6/6/06
was apparently an echo of the Y2K phenomenon
. Just as Y2K fears were anticipated but not realized, the supposed outage yesterday was only a single user issue. In reality, no filings were interrupted, and filings continued throughout the evening.
According to internal court report, "Upon further investigation on the 7th, the attorneys' problem was a DNS problem on their end, and other attorneys were able to docket successfully through the evening of 6/6. In other words, there was no discernible problem with CMECF; however the notice was posted, which, upon investigation the following day proved to have been unnecessary; however it was posted to exercise 'an abundance of caution.' "
Notice to Unregistered Counsel
June 5th marked the first order to counsel in a case asking them to explain their failure to register as e-filers. The case has over a dozen attorneys, and the few counsel who are not e-filers impose a burden of paper service on those who have complied with the court mandatory e-filing policy. Orders such as this may become more common in the future.
ORDER regarding electronic notice and electronic filing status.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that within fifteen days all counsel of record in this case who are not registered e-filers in the court's electronic filing system shall register as electronic filers or shall file an affidavit or declaration stating their reasons for not complying. "As of May 1, 2006, all members of the Court's Bar, active and pro hac vice, must electronically file all civil case filings. All criminal case filings by attorneys must be filed electronically as of November 1, 2005." http://www.utd.uscourts.gov/documents/announce8.html
6-6-06 Strikes CM/ECF
Amidst all the hype about the "666" related date
, the court began experiencing some intermittent problems with access to CM/ECF and PACER from the "outside" late today. Attorneys may have problems e-filing documents from approximately 4:30 p.m. this afternoon. As of 5:00 p.m., there was no estimate of a time for the sytem to be fully functional. Attorneys who have called were told to file their time-sensitive documents in paper. The court still maintains a 24 hour filing box on the front courthouse steps.
CM/ECF Downloading Tool - Beta Testers Sought
Peter Lucas has written a piece of software to automate the downloading of pleadings from the CM/ECF system using the "Notice of Electronic Filing" which is sent via email when a new pleading is filed. He says the software will merge, bookmark, and save pleadings automatically and that the program also works with the Lexis-Nexis File and Serve electronic filing system. He has tested the software with pleadings from 12 districts (both bankruptcy and district courts).
Peter is giving the release version of the software away for free to anyone willing to give it a try in its beta
state and provide feedback. A copy can be downloaded at www.digitalofficesystems.com/ezcourt.html
System requirements include Microsoft Outlook 2003 and Adobe Acrobat 7 (any version).
Peter's contact information is:
Peter J. Lucas
Appel & Lucas, P.C.
1917 Market Street, Ste A
Denver, CO 80202
Getting Citation Hyperlinks into an Existing PDF Document
You receive a memorandum from another party and want to streamline your Westlaw or Lexis research. Unfortunately, the submitting party did not provide it to you in electronic form, or if it is electronic, they did not include hyperlinks. West and Lexis provide free tools to automatically generate hyperlinks in WordPerfect and Microsoft Word documents. If you had received the document in WordPerfect or Microsoft Word format, you could run the citation generators described at http://www.utd.uscourts.gov/judges/nuffer_resources.htm#hyperlinks
. But if the document is a PDF document, how can you generate citation hyperlinks so that a mouse click takes you to your research service? Or, even worse, if someone has delivered a paper memorandum, how can you get the convenience of clicking into the cited authorities?PDF Document:
Open the PDF document inside WordPerfect X3, which can draw the text out of PDF documents. Then run CiteLink. Or save the PDF document in RTF or Microsoft Word format using Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional, open the document in Microsoft Word or Word Perfect, and then run CiteLink.Paper Document:
Scan the paper document to word processing format and then run CiteLink. Or scan the paper document to PDF format using and run the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) option as you scan. Then, take the steps described above for a PDF document.
Report - First Month of Fully Mandatory E-Filing
May 2006 was the first month in which e-filing was mandatory for all attorneys in all cases. During the month, the percentage of filings by attorneys increased dramatically, to over 30% of all court filings, and the more attorneys registered as efilers than in any prior month.(click on image for larger view)